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Injuries to note for 2020 fantasy baseball drafts

As Spring Training rolls on, we’ll be keeping track of all the major injuries spanning MLB and when these players could get back on the field.

New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton reacts after striking out during the sixth inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As Spring Training rolls on, injuries begin to pop up as well. This article will serve as your one-stop spot for injuries and will continue to update. As you go into your draft during the month of March, this can help aid you as a cheat sheet and help give you an upper-had on the rest of your league. Injuries are broken down by position and an estimated return date, if possible, for those players.

Starting Pitchers

Mike Leake, Arizona Diamondbacks

Leake was diagnosed with a fracture in his non-throwing wrist and is hopeful to still be ready for Opening Day. While he’s hopeful, manager Torey Lovullo admits it’s more realistic to think he could be back in action a couple of weeks after. Either way, it’s not a huge deal for their starter, who was acquired from the Mariners last season. Once moving to the NL, Leake tossed 60 innings allowing 36 runs (29 earned) on 74 hits and only 27 strikeouts.

Estimated return: Mid-April

Cole Hamels, Atlanta Braves

Hamels passed his physical when signing his one-year, $18 million deal with the Braves but irritated his shoulder during offseason workouts. As of March 2, Hamels has yet to be cleared to start throwing, which is putting him way behind schedule. It was revealed that he did not suffer any structural damage so it’s just a matter of resting and waiting. With that in mind, he’ll start the season on the injured list but a timetable on his return is very much in the air.

Estimated return: TBD

Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

Sale caught pneumonia at quite an inconvenient time, just ahead of reporting for Spring Training. According to the Red Sox, they’ve held back Sale as he continues to recover and this does not involve the elbow issue that sidelined him during 2019. With Sale behind schedule, he’ll partake in extended Spring Training and thus will open up the season on the injured list. While he comes with risk, at least according to the Red Sox, he’s recovered from his elbow injury and will be set to play healthy in 2020.

Estimated return: Early April

Mike Clevinger, Cleveland Indians

Clevinger underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The recovery time from this type of procedure hovers around six-to-eight weeks but luckily for the Indians, this occurred mid-February. He’s expected to begin a throwing program during the early portion of March so there is a legitimate chance, barring any setbacks, that Clevinger could be ready to go at the beginning of the season. Keep an eye on this one but it looks as if the Indians dodged a major bullet here.

Estimated return: Early April

Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels

Canning is dealing with a sore right elbow and we’ve heard different reports on the severity. Canning, who is not confirmed to have a medical degree, claims its “normal wear and tear.” Meanwhile, an MRI showed he has “chronic changes” to his UCL as well as acute joint irritation. Until we receive more information, this is likely a situation to avoid until we receive more clarity. While he hasn’t officially been put on the injured list, it very well could come.

Estimated return: TBD

Rich Hill, Minnesota Twins

Hill is recovering from surgery on his left elbow and is not expected to see the mound until some point in June. As of early March, he did begin a throwing program, according to beat writer Do-Hyoung Park, and if all goes well, will act as a mid-season acquisition for the Twins. For what it’s worth, he will be turning 40 years old in March.

Estimated return: June

James Paxton, New York Yankees

Paxton needed surgery to remove a cyst in his back in February, which would sideline him for 3-4 months. The oft-injured Paxton was expected to start throwing in the beginning on March in hopes to return in the early part of May. Barring any setbacks, he’ll be a pivotal part of the Yankees rotation that’s already lost Luis Severino for the season.

Estimated return: Early May

Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals

Mikolas received a platelet-rich plasma injection in late February to combat inflammation in his forearm. Both an MRI and an ultrasound didn’t reveal any damage so both the Cardinals and Mikolas are hoping this will do the trick. He’ll open the season on the injured list but is expected to return near the end of April.

Estimated return: Late April

Catcher

n/a

First Base

n/a

Second Base

Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

It’s been a long, frustrating couple of years for Pedroia, who has only played nine games over the last two years. After hoping to return this season, Pedroia has been placed on the 60-day injured list and the outlook on 2020 doesn’t look very promising at this juncture. It’s hard to bank on him contributing but stranger things have happened.

Estimated return: July

Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies

Rodgers is recovering from having surgery last season for a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He’s progressed well and is primed to take over second base duties upon his return. As long as he continues to avoid any setbacks, Rodgers could return soon after the season begins.

Estimated return: Mid-April

Third Base

Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds

During the offseason, Suarez injured himself in a swimming pool and underwent surgery to remove loose cartilage in his right shoulder. He was able to swing with both arms at the end of February, which was a great sign for his potential return. He’s yet to make it into a Spring Training game but would only need a few under his belt to be back on the field once the season begins. Overall, this doesn’t seem like it’ll be a long-term issue and the Reds are hopefully he’ll be back after missing minimal time during the regular season.

Estimated return: Early April

Shortstop

Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals

After the regular season ended, Mondesi underwent labrum surgery on his left shoulder. He was able to play in his first intrasquad game on March 1, paving the way for him to be ready at or soon after Opening Day. His progress has gone well and he’s been able to participate in almost all baseball activities. To be fair, the Royals are not expected to contend in 2020 so it wouldn’t be shocking for them to hold him back for any reason.

Estimated return: Early April

Outfield

Alex Verdugo, Boston Red Sox

Verdugo has been dealing with a stress fracture in his back since the end of 2019. Since then he’s been coming along slowly during Spring Training, as the Red Sox look to protect the centerpiece of the Mookie Betts trade. Verdugo looks as if he’ll open up the season on the injured list as the Red Sox are in no rush to bring him back. From a long-term perspective, this doesn’t seem like it’ll be one.

Estimated return: TBD

Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers

Pederson has been battling left oblique soreness, which has the potential to be a lengthy and bothersome issues. The Dodgers are optimistic that he’ll be available for Opening Day but his status has yet to be officially cemented. At this rate, it’s best to tab him for an early April return, barring any setbacks between now and Opening Day.

Estimated return: Early April

Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets

The curious case of Cespedes continues into 2020, where he’s expected to at least miss the beginning of the season. He missed all of 2019 after a wild boar attack on his ranch, which required him to undergo multiple surgeries to repair his heels and right ankle. As of late February, Cespedes had yet to be cleared to be a full participant in drills, so his availability for Opening Day looks like more of a pipe dream than reality. For now, we’ll put his estimated return for April but this could change quickly.

Estimated return: Mid-April

Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees

At the end of October, Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Unlike pitchers, hitters are able to return rather quickly with Hicks set to return sometime around midseason. The latest update given on Hicks came on March 1 in which manager Aaron Boone said he’d begin a throwing program in April. Of course, without doing much activity yet, it’s hard to pinpoint when Hicks could return.

Estimated return: Late June/Early July

Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees

The Yankees got more bad news in their outfield, as Stanton was diagnosed with a Grade 1 calf strain. General manager Brian Cashman said it’s “unrealistic” for him to play on Opening Day and they expect him back at some point in April. Stanton has dealt with a number of injuries and only played in 18 games last season. The big concern here is even if he clears this hurdle, how will he hold up the remainder of the season?

Estimated return: Late April

Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners

Haniger underwent two surgeries in 2020 for two different issues. The first was to correct a sports hernia and the second was to remove an intervertebral disc from his back. As of early March, Haniger is not expected to start any type of activity until at least April, which could sideline him until at least midseason. With this in mind, his timetable to return remains up in the air.

Estimated return: TBD